Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sean Kelly

Sean Kelly during the 1989 Tour de France

 Sean Kelly was born on May 24, 1956 in Waterford, Ireland. His given name is John James Kelly, the same name as his father's name. He was referred to at home as Sean, the Irish version of John, to avoid confusion. 

 His reputation as a bike racer was that of a extremely hard man, able to shrug off challenging conditions during a bike race. He developed these qualities at a young age while working on his family's farm and working as a brick layer. Kelly quit school at a young age to work on the farm when his father was hospitalized with a bleeding ulcer. Later, while still a teenager, he went to work as a brick layer. His obvious strength during his first few bicycle races, led him to pursue racing as a career. He trained harder than most other bike racers and maintained his toughness throughout his racing years.

 Sean Kelly raced bicycles as a profession during the years  1977 though 1994. He is credited with 193 pro victories. Kelly won the race Paris-Nice an astounding seven times in a row(1982-1988). 

 Kelly was a great all round rider. He was known for his awe-inspiring sprinting abilities. But was also a talented time trialist and a good climber. 

 He is best known for his wins in such tough one day races such as Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastone-Liege, the Giro di Lombardia and Gent-Wevelgem. 

 Sean Kelly's biggest stage race victory was the 1988 Vuelta a Espana. At the Vuelta he also won the Points classification during the years 1980, 1985, 1986 and 1988. During his professional career Kelly won 16 individual stages of the Vuelta.

Kelly started the Tour de France fifteen times and finished the race twelve times. His best finish at the tour was during the 1985 edition, when he finished in fourth place. He won the green jersey (sprinter's jersey) four times during the years 1982, 1983, 1985 and 1989. Kelly also won five stages in various years of competing at the Tour de France.

Sean Kelly was the first to be ranked No.1 when the FICP rankings were introduced in March 1984, a position he held for a record six years.

His last big win was the 1992 edition of Milan-San Remo. 

After retiring from professional bicycle racing, Sean Kelly became a commentator for the Eurosport and established the Sean Kelly Cycling Academy in Belgium.

Sean Kelly - 1978
Sean Kelly leading the charge during the 1989 Amstel Gold Race
Sean Kelly during the 1984 Tour de France
1992 Milano-San Remo, Kelly wins in front of Moreno Argentin.

Sean Kelly winning the 1984 edition of Pari-Roubaix

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